What Happened to Safeway’s Private Brands?

RESTON – So we haven’t been in a Safeway in years, but go in to grab some things while traveling. And I am curious about brands, and I look to see what has happened to some of the valuable private labels that Safeway was known for.

They all seemed to be gone; sadly, the store packaging was quite un-imaginative, and all the company did was stick a Safeway logo on its store products. I could not find Cragmont nor Crown Colony, and was afraid to go in the dairy section and look for my old friend, Lucerne milk.

A dreary effort by what was once a great grocery company.

In the early 1990s, Safeway made a major effort at jazzing up the private labels, but we guess the effort fizzled and the changes in packaging just confused the consumers, and turned them off. Note to grocery folk; if you have private label packaging that is pretty classic, you need to leave it as is, and people will still buy it.

Some Safeway brands we think were/are exceptional are:

  • Crown Colony. Such an evocative name for spices, don’t you think?
  • Lucerne milk. What is better?
  • Kitchen Kraft flour
  • Town House canned goods
  • Busy Baker cookies
  • Nu-Made mayonaise
  • Cragmont soda

The above Cragmont picture is from online; see more at the following website www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

33 Comments

  1. Dollar Tree has Busy Baker cracker products.

  2. I fondly remember the Safeway brands as well, particularly the Cragmont sodas. It was always a treat to go over to my grandmother’s house, open the refrigerator to get a drink, and have the whole top shelf full of a huge variety of soda flavors! My favorites were always the Sparkling Punch and the Cream Soda. The label in the picture above really brought back memories of the 1970s!!

    Didn’t Safeway also have their own brand of frozen foods?

  3. Lucerne is still Safeway’s dairy brand.

  4. Safeway Select is the branding they started using for several of their “premium” products while I was working there in the 90’s and continues today. They still have Lucerne, but I think that is the only old brand that still exists. Look at the bottom third of this page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safeway_Inc. ) for a long list of their current store brands.

  5. I went into Safeway today looking for the Craigmont sodas but didn’t see any. I did see a brand called Refresh. Are they taking the place of Craigmont now and are they as good? Thank you!

  6. Do You Remember Page Chipper Ice Cream? I Believe It Was Only Sold At Safeway.

  7. Those simpler times made life seem magical to me. Now it just seems like marketing.

  8. We too always seemed to have a case of assorted Cragmont sodas on hand, as my mother’s stash of Pepsi was strictly off limits. Bel Air was Safeway’s proprietary brand of frozen foods, I seem to recall. And yes, it is a small world indeed.

  9. Jay…we always had the Cragmont around too. Safeway was the leading chain those days, and all the brands sort of omnipresent. I do remember the Bel Air brand, as my grandparents always had it around, and their house and farm on the Rappahannock was named Bel Air.

  10. I live in San Jose, CA and the other day I was in a downtown Grocery Outlet. While there, I came across 12 packs of Cragmont Sodas. (4 different flavors to choose from.) So if you want Cragmont Sodas, try any Grocery Outlet. Call first before you go though to make sure they have them in stock.

  11. Grocery Outlet carries Cragmont sodas. Just bought the cola on 10-11-14 in San Diego county

  12. As a boy, I thought the name “Cragmont” was so funny because of the word’s menacing overtones. Not the scenic and happy “mountain”, “peak” or “summit”, but the dark-sounding “crag”. Evil Lord of the Rings creatures live in crags. Climbers fall to their deaths from crags. Say it and tremble. Crag! I do miss the cheap, tasty soda, though!

  13. I haven’t seen Safeway in decades. I live in Oklahoma, and when Safeway pulled out of the sales territory, it was replaced by a local start up chain called Homeland, which sank a few years later, and the name is now used by another chain, Country Mart, for some of it’s stores. I miss Safeway, because My family used to live in the SF Bay Area during the 70s, and having it in Oklahoma was a homey bit of continuity. I loved the Cragmont brand, even it’s Dr. Pepper clone, The Skipper. I know some people get snotty about the Pepper copies, but some are good.

  14. I’m originally from Prince George, Canada.

    Safeway was my mom’s choice for shopping and house-brand products such as Cragmont and Lucerne were routine purchases.

    Yes, the pictures very much bring back fond memories and the odd tear.

    I currently work in Riyadh, and believe it or not, there are Safeways everywhere in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia. They have the red “S” but are called, TAMIMI. Needless to say, the old house-brands are long gone.

  15. Jay Couk, thanks so much for refreshing my memory on the Bel Air frozen foods brand! I knew they had their own brand, but for the life of me couldn’t remember the name!

  16. The best equivalent to Cragmont is Krogers “Big K” brand. Safeways Refresh is aweful.

  17. Anyone remember Safeway’s econo brand Scotch Buy? How about the coffee grinder Safeway had in the coffee section? I remember shopping with my mom when I was a kid and eating the left over coffee grounds at the bottom of the machine!

  18. My favorite was the grapefruit soda from cragmont

  19. Does anyone remember a vanilla, chocolate dipped ice milk bar they sold? Not ice CREAM, because apparently when you have 8 kids, you can’t afford the cream, but you can afford the milk. I sure was glad when I grew up and got a job and could afford real ice cream. I imagine my parents were too!

  20. There were several I can remember when I worked there in the 80’s:
    Crown Colony (spices)
    Scotch Buy (cheapo brand canned goods)
    Mrs Wrights (bread)
    Maison Blanc (wine)
    Bel Air (frozen food)
    Town House (regular canned goods)
    Edwards (coffee)
    Cragmont (soda)

  21. I loved the grapefruit! Big K’s grapefruit does not compare.

  22. I recall the Scotch Buy line when Safeway had some stores in the Des Moines, IA USA area in the late 1970s. This was when generic food items were becoming popular; some supermarket stores sold items with just the names of the items on the packaging and such labeling as “Developed to create a greater value”. The color of the lettering was dark blue and the lettering was often stenciled. Fortune magazine carried an article about the trend; it called Scotch Buy “a wolf in sheep skin” if I’m not mistaken.

  23. I once drank like 14 cans of Hawaiian punch as a kid and projectile vomited red against a wall.

    Good times.

  24. What Memories! I remember the Neapolitan Lucerne ice milk it was the best. I used to sit in front of the TV every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and watch the Creature Feature eating my Neapolitan ice cream mixed with milk. It was the best! As far as the Cragmont sodas go we only had those when we went to the lake for special occasions. It was always special. Love all the comments it is so cool.

  25. I remember snowstar ice cream in the blue carton.

  26. Wow, memories. I went to work at SW when I was 20. Back then, SW was in 6 countries, including Saudi Arabia as mentioned above – but those were co-owned by a shiekh/sheikhs so didn’t loose ther name after the LBO that drastically reduced the size of the company, and why there are regional store names.
    I’d forgotten about some of these brands. Snowstar was the “cheap stuff”, once told a customer the Lucerne was on sale cheaper but she said she liked the ice crystals in Snowstar.
    Cragmont grapefruit soda was the best.
    Found this site while searching for a more recent brand – it included natural laundry & paper products.I think it had a yellow sun. anyone remember that name?

  27. I really miss my Cragmont Sparkling Punch 🙁
    If anyone knows where I can get some, PLEASE tell me!!! Someone up there said Grocery Outlet… I’ll check that lead out, but I have a feeling it’s a lost cause!

  28. Manor House (frozen fried chicken & other foods)
    Party Pride (chips, pretzels, etc.)
    Snow Star Ice Cream
    Oven Joy Bread
    Verdi Italian Salami (This was the BEST.)

  29. When I was in college (late 1970s, early 1980s), Safeway was teh country’s biggest oligopoly. I owned the land, hired the farmers, owned the factories where it was processed, the trucks, the stores.

    Randall’s had Safeway brand sodas, including the unmatched Sparkling Punch, just a few years ago. Only they called it Safeway brand. It was still the same thing.

    Now they have “Refreshe” brand, which is store brand, but their fruit punch is some kind of cherry-raspberry monstrosity. Not the same thing AT ALL.

    I’d love if someone could tell me where to find something at least comparable to the original Sparkling Punch.

  30. I’m from Canada and grew up in a very small town on Vancouver Island where Safeway was one of only 2 chain groceries. I remember that they were the only place to buy Cragmont soda…they orange,lemon lime and cream soda were good but the Cola was the best.Even better than Coke or Pepsi. Recently I had occasion to buy Cott cola and was taken back to 10 yrs old and enjoying a Cragmont cola…wow….btw,I’m 61 now.

  31. I grew up in the 1970s with Cragmont sodas. Most of them were pretty good. The cola was noticeably different from The Big 2 brands. Also, I made the mistake of asking once for chocolate soda. Gak.

    Sometimes, we were lucky enough to get the (very) slightly more upscale Shasta sodas.

  32. My mother used to buy the Scotch brand hotdogs.

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